Shin Keeps Rolling

September 16, 2009

Jiyai Shin captured her third win of the season last week in the LPGA's P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Song-Hee Kim and Jiyai Shin each shot a 6-under 66 to share the lead atop the elite 20-player field in the opening round of the Samsung World Championship at Torrey Pines on Thursday.

Kim was the runner-up in this tournament last year, losing by one stroke to Paula Creamer at Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Kim started strong, with five birdies in her first eight holes on the South Course. Shin, coming off her tour-leading third victory of the year at the NW Arkansas Championship, had four birdies on the back nine.

Both are from South Korea.

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa of Mexico and Sophie Gustafson of Sweden were one stroke behind the leaders on a perfect, calm day on the blufftop municipal course overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where Tiger Woods claimed his epic win in the 2008 U.S. Open.

Ochoa said the low scores were the result of easy pin placements and little wind. Eleven players were under par and three were even.

Yardage was listed at 6,721, but some holes were shortened, particularly some of the par-5s.

By comparison, the U.S. Open scorecard read 7,643 yards, but the course actually played between 7,400 and 7,500 yards because the tee boxes were switched up every day.

Ai Miyazato of Japan and Juli Inkster were tied for fifth at 68. Inkster, a three-time winner, received an exemption.

Creamer was seventh with a 3-under 69. She's still looking for her first win of the season after battling a mystery illness. She said she got sick after going to Mexico in November for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, and that doctors weren't able to figure out what was wrong.

Ochoa, playing with Creamer, bogeyed the par-4 No. 1 after driving into a bunker, then picked up the pace with birdies on four of the last five holes on the front nine.

Ochoa finished her round with a two-putt birdie on the par-5, 480-yard 18th.